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Dr. Fauci says there’s a ‘silver lining’ to the coronavirus pandemic

Published Aug 4th, 2020 10:52AM EDT
fauci coronavirus
Image: Kevin Dietsch/Pool via AP

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  • Dr. Anthony Fauci says there’s a small upside to the fact that the coronavirus pandemic disproportionately affects minority communities.
  • The virus has highlighted serious shortcomings in healthcare and wellness programs that should be targeting minority communities.
  • Dr. Fauci also says that the coming Fall may come with a spike in cases of both the coronavirus as well as the seasonal flu.

We’re living in the midst of a global pandemic the likes of which no living person on Earth has ever seen before. It’s bad (wear your mask!) but it could always be worse. In a new interview with BET‘s Marc Lamont Hill, Dr. Anthony Fauci — the top infectious disease expert in the country — offers a slim upside to the disproportionate number of cases hitting minority communities.

No race has been spared from the virus’s wrath, but the rate of infections among the Black and Latinx communities is significantly higher than that of white citizens. In fact, those minority groups are seeing roughly three times as many infections as their white counterparts. Dr. Fauci says that, if we handle it the right way, these statistics could lead to real change in the balance of medical care across racial lines.

More people getting sick is never a good thing, and that’s certainly not what Dr. Fauci is suggesting, but he does propose that the coronavirus has revealed a disparity in the healthcare system that overwhelmingly favors white people. He also suggests that these minority groups tend to be employed at jobs where they can’t work from home, placing them at increased risk of infection.

Dr. Fauci explains that when comparing demographics, Black Americans are more likely to suffer serious outcomes from a COVID-19 diagnosis due to underlying health conditions that are more prevalent on a per-capita basis in the minority communities than in the white community. This, Dr. Fauci says, should prompt a serious response from the government to redirect resources to areas with high populations of minorities and expedite testing, diagnosis, and treatment of those who are most vulnerable. “We could do that today,” Fauci says.

This increased risk is a result of longstanding disparities between the white population and minority groups, including access to high-quality food and affordable healthcare in those communities. Dr. Fauci compared the coronavirus outbreak to that of HIV, which also disproportionately impacted Black Americans.

On a more broad note, Dr. Fauci says that the “first wave” of the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t passed yet and that we’re still “knee-deep” in it. With that in mind, if the trends continue this way, the Fall and Winter months could be extremely bleak in terms of new cases and more casualties. The doctor says that the seasonal flu will be circulating by that time, and to have two airborne viruses to fight against at the same time will be an even greater challenge than what we’re currently facing.